Phil Simmons’ first task will be to oversee the three-Test series against visiting England © AFP
Phil Simmons’ first task will be to oversee the three-Test series against visiting England © AFP

St. John’s (Antigua): West Indies bowling consultant Curtly Ambrose has given his full backing to new head coach Phil Simmons, describing him as a “team man” who he expects to bring a new dimension to the squad.

Simmons, the former Ireland coach, was appointed to the vacant position following the conclusion of the cricket World Cup last month, reports CMC.

“I know for sure, Simmons is a team man. I’ve never worked with him as being a coach, but I know as a team person he will bring something different,” Ambrose said on Saturday.

“Working with him for the last four days – because we had a management meeting and he laid out his plans – I’ve been very impressed with what he has to offer and I can see that there will be some changes going forward. I believe good things are going to happen because Simmons is a serious man.”

Simmons, who played with Ambrose during his 26-Test and 146 One-Day career, was named to replace former seamer Ottis Gibson who was axed last August after four years on the job.

A former opener who also bowled medium pace, Simmons’ first task will be to oversee the three-Test series against visiting England before also preparing the side to face the mighty Australians in June.

However, with the West Indies still languishing at number eight in the world Test standings, Ambrose warned that the road back would be long, difficult one.

“Even before I joined the West Indies team, it used to frustrate me. Because I was part of the best team in the world so I know what it means to the Caribbean people. Now that I am a part of it, I am going to do the best I can to try and get the cricket forward,” he said.

“When I joined the team first, people talked about getting back to number one but I am a realist. We are so far away from number one, my job is to try and get us into the top four first because you can’t leave from number eight to number one just like that,” he added.

“It’s not that easy. We can’t think about number one as yet, we have to be real about this thing.” Ambrose was quick to praise the current group of players, pointing out they had been responding to his methods.

“I have to be patient because it is not going to happen overnight. I have no problem working with the guys. They give me the fullest of respect, I do the same to them and sometimes I get a little aggressive with them when things aren’t going well, but they understand that it is for their benefit,” the Antiguan said.

West Indies face England in the first Test starting here on Monday.